Schools are ‘betrayed’ as budgets cut

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The government has been accused of betraying the country’s children after it emerged that all schools face cuts to their budgets.

Secondary schools could lose the equivalent of six teachers because of reduced funding which will hit the poorest pupils hardest.

That is according to a new report which reveals that secondaries in England will lose almost £300,000 on average and primary schools will lose £74,000 in real terms.

An analysis by the Education Policy Institute found that a new funding formula proposed by the government will shift cash away from the most disadvantaged pupils.

The report said there were unlikely to be any schools which would avoid real terms cuts to funding because any gains would not exceed rising running costs.

It said: “Around half of primary and secondary schools will be faced with large, real cuts in funding per pupil of between six and 11 per cent by 2019-20

“These estimated funding pressures amount to an average real terms loss of £74,000 per primary school and £291,000 per secondary school. This equates to almost two teachers in an average primary school and six teachers in an average secondary school.”

In Calderdale, schools will gain funding by an estimated 1.3 per cent. Some 24 schools will lose money and 72 will gain.

Almost 1,000 people have signed a petition by Halifax MP Holly Lynch against the new funding formula.

Worst hit in Calderdale will be Park Lane Learning Trust and North Halifax Grammar School, which could lose 2.6 per cent of their funding.

Crossley Heath School could lose 2.3 per cent and Trinity Academy, Halifax, faces a one per cent funding cut.

Halifax MP Holy Lynch started a petition opposing the changes to school funding that called for no schools to be made worse off.

She said: “My petition has attracted over 1,000 signatures which shows the strength of feeling locally on this issue. I am scheduled to formally submit the petition to the House of Commons on April 18 so there is still time for people to add their support to the campaign.

“I have written to the Government setting out the concerns of local parents and Headteachers and am pleased that Schools Minister Nick Gibb has agreed to meet with me, and teachers from Halifax, next month so we can express our concerns about the impact of these changes on local education.”

NUT Calderdale spokesman James Wilson said: “Sadly, the curriculum is becoming thinner, as a number of local schools are already cutting drama, dance, music, psychology and technology provision.

“Schools are sacking or not replacing teachers and other staff, leading to unacceptably large class sizes, less support for the children with the greatest additional needs, and larger workloads for already beleaguered teachers.”

“These problems will get worse over the coming years, as schools use up what budget reserves they have managed to save.

“The Government needs to reverse their ideological assault on school funding and commit to a real terms increase for our children’s education.”

Megan Swift, Calderdale Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services said:

“School budgets are under massive pressure. In a recent national survey, more than half of heads said that their school budgets will be unsustainable by the end of 2019.

“We need urgent action by central Government to plug the £3 billion funding gap facing our schools - without it, the education of our children will suffer.”